Novak Djokovic has defeated Rafael Nadal to claim the crown at the 2012 Monte Carlo Masters. The win marks the first time in nine years that the Monte Carlo Masters has been handed to someone other than Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic claimed the win with a finals record of 6-2, 7-6 (1).
After the game, Djokovic said: “Rafa, thank you for allowing me to win it once. I couldn’t ask for a better start to the clay season.”
The win was especially poignant for Novak Djokovic, who lost his grandfather in the middle of Monte Carlo play last year.
Nadal, for his part, has been a dominate force at Monte Carlo, having won his last 46 previous matches for eight title wins in a row. Last year it was Nadal who defeated Djokovic during the same finals round.
The last time Nadal lost at the Monte Carlo Masters was 10 years ago during play against Guillermo Coria. Nadal missed the 2004 tournament with an injury.
Djokovic added: “I cannot be happier than I am in this moment knowing what I’ve been through the whole week, actually two weeks. If somebody told me 10 days ago I’d be winning the trophy, I wouldn’t think it’s so realistic, to be honest.”
Nadal said of his own play: “I think he played a little bit better than me, especially in the first set. I felt that I was playing really well the second set and I was having more chances than him.”
Nadal suffered a knee injury in February but seems to have recuperated with five consecutive finals appearances for which he won three. The win at Monte Carlo, in the meantime, hands Novac Djokovic his third title of the year and his 37th overall tournament win.
The two men may have a chance to repeat their finals match in five weeks when they play in the French Open at Roland Garros.